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« Digital Overwhelm & Motivation | 5 Motivation Surprises & Zumba »

Ask the Expert: Dr. Shannon Reece

Dr. Shannon Reece, Reece International LLCIt’s time again for the newest edition of our popular “Ask the Expert” feature on The Other Side of Organized blog.  We’ve enjoyed wonderful conversations about time management with Julie Morgenstern, clutter with Lorie Marrero, letting go with Geralin Thomas, next steps with Yota Schneider, and change with John Ryan. As we shift our focus this month, I’m excited to bring you the vibrant psychologist and peak performance coach, Dr. Shannon Reece to share her wisdom about motivation.

Shannon and I met through our social media channels about a year ago. Since then, I’ve become a huge fan of hers. She is an incredible social engager, and fabulous sharer of information and resources. I continue to learn from her about business, success, social media and more. My deepest gratitude and thanks goes to her for taking the time to join us. Before we begin, here’s more about Shannon.

Dr. Shannon Reece is a sport psychologist, peak performance expert, and former competitive athlete. She teaches women entrepreneurs and competitive athletes how to leverage their unique assets, and minimize their weaknesses to achieve peak performance. Her websites, educational products and speaking engagements are built around the fundamentals for success which include, putting yourself at the top of your list of highest priorities without guilt, transforming your fear from a liability into an asset, and understanding that being competitive is not about conforming to the status quo. You can connect with Shannon on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, blog, or website.


Linda:  You’re an expert on helping women entrepreneurs achieve business success. How does motivation relate to any type of success?

Shannon:  Without getting involved in the psychological theories on motivation, what I’ve found working with successful competitive athletes and entrepreneurs is that the core of their motivation most often flows from the desire to experience their fullest potential.

Elite performers are those who are never satisfied with good, but strive for greatness. They don’t envision limits to what they can do, but apply constant dedication and discipline to the development of their greatest strengths to see all that they can be. Many people rarely tap into the gifts with which they were born, being too afraid to see where they might lead. Success is available to everyone. It’s just a matter of pushing past the fear of the “what ifs” to see who you were meant to become. And the motivation to take that leap is often discovered when a person’s dissatisfaction with the status quo of life pushes them beyond the excuses they’ve allowed to hold them back.


Linda:  What are your favorite techniques for getting motivated?

Shannon:  I teach my clients that garbage in is garbage out. If you eat junk food, don’t rest your body, and fill your mind with completely worthless information you can’t expect to produce your best physically, mentally or emotionally. Getting motivated begins when you make the right choices to enrich your life. For me that means reading things that inspire the right thinking (books, powerful quotes, select newsletters and blog posts), reconnecting daily with my planned purpose (the big WHY I do what I do, and how my actions today get me a few steps closer to my dream), exercise (to get my blood flowing, sweat out toxins, and unlock my creativity), and getting enough rest (when you are exhausted, it’s hard to stay focused and productive).


Linda:  It can be challenging to stay motivated. What suggestions do you have if motivation diminishes?

Shannon:  When it comes to maintaining motivation day in and day out, you have to keep your eyes focused on the “prize” that is most meaningful for you. For every person this is something different. I challenge my clients to identify their 5 highest priorities – the values that are non-negotiable when it comes to their ideal life. When your daily goals are in alignment with your highest priorities, and you have created a map to keep you on track each week, there’s never a question about what needs to be done next. It’s much easier to maintain your motivation to push through even the toughest business to-dos when they are tied into everything that is important to you.


Linda:  Motivation can be internal, external, positive, or negative. Are there pros and cons for each?

Shannon:  Focusing on external rewards can lead to disappointment, because outcomes are not always within your direct control. For example, if you are waiting for a lot of sales to motivate you to take the next step in business, and the sales don’t meet your expectations, does that hold you back from focusing on other ways to grow your business? You can’t control who, when, and how people buy. But you can fine-tune the marketing process to give yourself the best opportunity to be successful.

The best kind of motivation is internal and positive. Your motivation needs to start inside and be directly tied to your dreams and your highest priorities. The impetus for ongoing motivation can’t always rest on results, but should focus on the value of the process. There is reward in failure as much as there is in success, and sometimes more. Therefore the ups and downs you experience in the process, the growing pains, and the victories should be examined for the value that lies within. I challenge clients to always look for the silver lining, even in the darkest hours. An opportunistic mindset focused on the process enables you to see what the reactive, outcome-focused business owner cannot, thus putting you ahead of the pack in your niche.


Linda:  What has been your biggest personal motivation challenge?

Shannon:  The biggest motivational challenge I’ve faced in business has been establishing the right habits and systems, in the right places to reduce the daily load of working in my business, freeing me up to work on the growth of my business. As a one-woman-show, running a business can be overwhelming at times. The more you can create systems to streamline everything you touch, and discipline yourself by developing the right habits in your daily activities, the greater freedom and joy you will experience in the work you do. Your greatness doesn’t lie in the mundane tasks, but in the higher-level thinking that changes the world one life at a time. The sooner you can shift your mindset and operating style to match that challenge, the more you will be motivated to see just how high you can soar.

Thank you, Shannon for your unique perspective and strategies about motivation. Your “garbage in is garbage out” concept resonates with me. This idea emphasizes how the right environment affects our ability to stay motivated and achieve success. Another concept that I love is your idea that ongoing motivation is most successful when it focuses on the value of the process, rather than only on the results.

I invite all of you to join Shannon and me as we continue the conversation. What are your motivation successes or challenges?

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Reader Comments (26)

Thanks Dr. Reece for sharing insights into motivation. That is a powerful way to help our clients in just getting them started. Focusing on the value of the journey, the learning itself, and adding that to your strengths, makes for the success of the process and end result.

July 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEllen Delap

Thank you Linda and Dr. Shannon for the great interview with so many things I can implement to keep my goals and motivations fresh in my spirit!
Such a great reminder to keep focus on my motivations (Big 5) to all I do. It's so easy to lose sight of what brought us to a certain place on the whirlwind of daily life, that's when I tell myself: go back to what moved you on your first step in this direction.
On another note: so, exercise is a daily thing, hum? I still have to get that in my calendar! :-)

July 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHelena Alkhas

@Ellen- You're so right that motivation is a key for getting started for ourselves and our clients. Appreciate you weighing in.

@Helena- Going back to the source or the "why" is key. As you said, it's so easy to get wrapped up in our busyness, that we can lose sight of what's really important. As far as the exercise piece, I'm no expert, but it looks like you've figured out a plan that might work for you.

Thank you both for joining the conversation. It's always great to hear what you're thinking about.

July 17, 2012 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

Linda, Thank you for the honor of being a featured expert on you blog! It was a lot of fun writing on motivation for your audience and I am thrilled to see that the message is resonating with your readers! My thanks to Ellen and Helena for sharing your thoughts!

I challenge everyone to write down their 5 highest priorities -- those non-negotiables -- and then post them everywhere you spend time. Having the constant reminder of what is important helps you make better decisions in the moment, stay on track with your day, and remind you during the really crazy times why you do what you do. The reminder will also help you choose better options that fill your mind, heart and body with the essentials that will produce the highest quality you!

Now get out there and kick some business butt, Ladies!

July 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDr. Shannon Reece

Wow! you know I am a fan of both of you ladies but this was powerful. I love the garbage in and garbage out -- both on a physical and intellectual level. We need the power and well being of the body and spirit to do what it needs to do, but so much of our day to day thinking is filled with "garbage" thoughts. Time for a big "cleansing" so there is room for the good stuff, good thoughts, good energy and good motivation. Love it!

July 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLeslie Josel

Ladies, thanks for sharing. These are great tips that I can share with my students and implement in my personal life as well.

While I am at home for the summer, I am working daily through trial and error to develop a schedule that will allow me to continue to grow my business once I return to work in August.

It’s challenging but by revisiting my goals and priorities daily, I stay motivated to find the system that works best for me and my family.

July 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTarsha Gray

Shannon- Your energy and wisdom is fabulous! I'm so happy you're here with us. Love the challenge you gave us to identify and PROMINENTLY display our 5 highest and non-negotiable priorities. Doing so will help us maintain our focus and make better decisions throughout the day.

July 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

Hey Leslie- So glad to hear your voice. Yes..."garbage" thoughts out and "good" stuff in! Love it!

July 17, 2012 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

The "garbage in garbage out" section resonated with me as well, as I'm currently reading "The Information Diet" which stresses the point that what we read and listen to shapes what we think (I'll be blogging about this soon).

I also love the idea of posting our 5 highest priorities where we will see them throughout the day. Would a vision board work well for this?

July 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Barclay

Janet- Shannon's "garbage in, garbage out" seems to strike a chord with many of us. "The Information Diet" and your upcoming post both sound fascinating. Please send me a link when your article is ready. I want to read it. I'm currently reading Jonah Lehrer's book, "Imagine: How Creativity Works." It's very clear that what we read influences what we think about and how we connect our daily experiences. So why not "feed" ourselves the best of what's available?

Do you use a vision board? I don't know how Shannon will respond, but I think whether it's a vision board or actual words posted prominently, they both work to remind and refocus us on our priorities and goals. Always love hearing from you.

July 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

Janet, I love the idea of using a vision board to really lock onto your highest priorities. You can also mindmap the priorities to see how you can build your life and business around them. The goal is to have them as the guiding principles for your life, making it much easier to say 'No" to the things that would pull you away from them.

Just as we need to be selective about the people we invite into our inner circle, you need to be selective about where you invest your time, energy and heart.

July 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDr. Shannon Reece

Linda - I am halfway through Jonah Lehrer's book "How We Decide." I've set it aside because I got a bit lost in the science of it, but I intend to pick it up again someday.

I've only created a vision board once (see but I had it posted on the wall of my office and it was a great reminder of what I wanted to achieve as well as a good way to compare my current reality with the vision.

Dr. Reese - I've always had trouble with the concept of mindmapping. I think it's because I prefer Sensing to Intuition (using MBTI terms). Can you point me to a resource I might be able to relate to?

July 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Barclay

Shannon- Really appreciate that gentle reminder about "No." It's so easy to distracted if we're not acutely aware of our own priorities. Being "selective" in all ways is the key.

Janet- I loved "How We Decide." The irony is that I picked up the book in an airport bookstore because first the title caught my attention, and then couldn't resist the three ice cream cones (chocolate, vanilla & strawberry) on the cover. That book turned me into a huge Johah Lehrer fan. Thank you for sharing the link to your vision board & life balance post. I just read it and it's wonderful! Inspiring to see how you were willing to look at a challenge and design your time to better suit your desires and needs. Bravo!

July 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

Linda - so funny that you've read "How We Decide"! My sister gave it to me a gift, as I frequently lament the difficulties I have making decisions. Maybe you can bring in a decision-making expert for one of your future posts!

July 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Barclay

Wonderful conversation! I am very goal-oriented for myself, as well as for my clients. Keeping my eye on the prize is a very effective "thought" tool. For me, knowing where I'm headed IS my motivation. We must remind ourselves of what we want to accomplish and stick to a plan. Too often, we veer off path and immerse ourselves with distractions, and then struggle to get back on track. The challenge is of course is to "stay" motivated. I rely on the physical balance (exercise) to re-charge me and and fuel my focus. I require an active body and soul, in order to stimulate my mind.

July 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNancy Borg

@Janet- Great suggestion to have a decision-making expert! Love it. Hard to believe that you have difficulty making decisions. Your online persona doesn't reveal that.

@Nancy- Fabulous personal recipe for motivation that you've created! Thank you for sharing.
1. Eye on goal motivates you
2. Physical activity recharges body
3. Active body enhances focus & mind

July 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

@Janet, If you find that you really connect with creating vision boards, then definitely stick with it. I sporadically use mind mapping but have found it to be very helpful in fleshing things out. I don't use technology, just a pad of paper and pen to get the work done. :) Keeping it simple.

My suggestion to mind map was for the purpose of determining how far and wide you can go developing your business, while still staying tethered to your highest priorities. Mind maps keep you "anchored" to your non-negotiables.

@Leslie, you are awesome, so to receive praise from you is always special! Thanks for reading!

@Nancy, you are on track toward success with your attitude and plan! Love it!

@Linda, your audience rocks with their comments and interaction! That is a testament to you being an incredible Tribe leader and thought expert. Love the conversation here. :)

July 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDr. Shannon Reece

Thank you Shannon and Linda! So much of what you've touched upon resonates with me.
Learning to focus on the process instead of making the result the end-all, be-all of my success, has been a life lesson for me.
There is so much more to our journey than the finishing line. So many times the finishing line moves and we blame ourselves because that's what we're used to doing. Many factors and dynamics come into play that we have no control over. It's who we become and what we learn while trying that matters.
As for our daily habits . . . they do define us, don't they? That's an area I always have to watch out for. It's so easy to get distracted and invest time and energy unwisely. I have to go back, evaluate, and take the garbage out more often than not:-)
I too, find that pen and paper is the easiest way to lay down a plan. I tend to get lost in my head if I don't sit down and flesh it all out.
Your article came at a very good time for me. There's a lot going on right now and I need to focus. Off to get my pad.
Thank you both. xoxo

July 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterYota

Great to read the variety of posts on this one, which is why I've come late to the party

Shannon presents some brilliant concepts here from her expert knowledge of peak performance. Indeed, the garbage in -garbage out thinking is a great platform to kick off your own motivational strategies in the right direction. I once read that that the enemy of the great is the good, so it pays to give yourself the best 'fuel' to optimise success along your motivational journey.

Furthermore, the 5 highest priorities reminds me of the 'big rocks' idea presented by the late great Stephen Covey - discovering what matters most & then spending the majority of your time doing those things. This one strategy has revolutionised how I prioritise what matters most to me & how I maintain consistent levels of motivation to succeed on a daily basis.

Reviewing the comments & suggestions above, I can see how many of the talented ladies gain benefit from using a method of visual tracking to check-in on progress in a way that is always present; I think these could also be useful in capturing those moments when we do go off course, & seeing it not as a failure, but as a form of feedback to assist us in moving forward with a refreshed perspective. As Shannon states so elegantly, keep looking for that 'Silver Lining' - the journey is always as important as the destination.

Finally, I will add that with any process where retaining motivation is key to achieving personal & business success, having a coach to guide you is a wonderful asset, & certainly you can see that with her level of passion & expertise in success as well as peak performance, Shannon would be a perfect ally. I am honoured to consider her part of my inner circle & an invaluable source of wisdom & insight.

Thank you Shannon for sharing some of your expertise with us here on Linda's site-
I always learn something every time I listen to your insights.

July 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGrant Willcox

Tarsha- I love how open you are to experimenting with the best ways to combine, family, work and building a business. I can see the energy in your post am sure you will figure it out. When I started Oh, So Organized!, almost 20 years ago, I was in the same position. I worked for a design firm, had two small children under 3, and was launching my organizing business. I was doing it all until it became too overwhelming. At that point I had to make some decisions. So I left the "security" of the job and started organizing full time. My business took off and I was better able to balance raising a family. It was one of the best decisions I ever made. I'm looking forward to hearing more about your journey.

July 21, 2012 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

@Yota- Your words always get right to the heart of things. I love that! When you say that there is "so much more to our journey than the finishing line," I am totally with you. As someone that is goal-oriented, I combine that with appreciating and learning from the journey. With the seductive nature of working toward a goal and completion, it can be easy to ignore or rush the process.

It's interesting about the pen and paper. For my deepest reflections, there's nothing quite as personal as writing with favorite pen in my journal. But as a blogger, I've gotten comfortable writing on my keyboard. So for me, it depends what I'm sorting out. I use all methods available depending upon where I am both physically and emotionally. The key is getting the thoughts out somewhere be it by pen, keyboard, voice recording, or talking with another person.

I know you'll find the focus you're looking for. You have a wealth of tools and experiences to support you, along with an amazing ability for reflection.

July 21, 2012 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

@Shannon I appreciate your wonderful, ongoing interaction and support with our fabulous community of people. Your wisdom keeps on giving and I'm deeply grateful. What you are sharing resonates with us. Have you noticed how many people have responded to your "garbage in is garbage out" concept?

July 21, 2012 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

Grant- You are never late and ALWAYS welcome to the party, whenever you arrive! A lot of ideas were sparked by this post and I appreciate all that you shared.

The "garbage in, garbage out" concept is one that many of us have responded to. I love your thoughts on that about adding the "best 'fuel' to optimize success along your motivational journey." We need to "purchase" the highest octane available.

The value of hiring a coach as a guide and accountability partner is another important point you shared in our conversation. We are so lucky to benefit from the coaching wisdom and thinking shown here by you, Yota, and Shannon. It's obvious that you each bring tremendous value as coaches in helping your clients on their success journeys. Thank you for your generous sharing here.

July 21, 2012 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

@Yota, I love your comment about the process versus the finish line. You need to have a target (finish line) in mind to drive toward, but there really is no "end" until the day you sell your business, and then something new becomes the race to the finish line. And every time an entrepreneur gets to move that finish line out to something bigger and better, it fuels the excitement and adventure of seeing just have far you can soar. :)

Nice to meet a fellow pen and paper gal!

@Grant, I am humbled and honored by your praise -- Thank you! I am not familiar with Covey's big rocks, but am glad that the top 5 aligns with someone who gave and taught so much. I've got to read his books. :)

Thank you for your comment about having a coach! For me, having a business coach this year has made such a huge impact on my life, my business and my sanity. I kept thinking that a coach was a luxury I would have once my business reached a certain level. What I learned is that a coach is a necessity to keep me on track. While I am in the trenches day after day doing the work, the monumental blessing of coach is that he keeps his eye trained on my path toward the big picture stuff, and makes sure I stay on course.

I know the impact I've had on clients, helping them see beyond the minutiae, as I am sure you and Linda have too. Nothing is quite as rewarding than helping someone climb to new heights they didn't even believe were possible. As far as my work goes, it's getting them to dramatically shift and refine their thinking, which opens up a new world of possibilities. :)

July 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDr. Shannon Reece

I love seeing websites that understand the value of providing a quality resource for free.

August 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDecision Maker

@Decision Maker- Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your positive feedback. We have a wonderful community here that is very generous and open with their expertise and wisdom. Glad to have you with us. I hope you'll join us again.

August 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

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